Currently I’m in lovely Victoria, British Columbia with my fiance, visiting my cousin and her husband for the week. It’s the first REAL vacation for Alan and I having spent our other vacations here in Toronto. That being said, both of us are working hard to get the last of the weight off and tone up in preparating for our wedding next fall and don’t want to blow it just because we’re “on vacation”. It got me thinking about staying healthy while travelling, whether for work or for pleasure and how we can get so conflicted about what “vacation” really means.
In my own opinion, there’s nothing wrong with indulging while on vacation or not being so structured as far as your workouts go. You’re on vacation because you need a break from your everyday life and the responsibilities and structures that lay within it. That being said, it’s very easy to use that as an excuse to go far too overboard and coming home feeling like you ate your weight at the dessert buffet and feeling guilty for it, having to now work extra hard to burn off the couple of pounds you gained while you were gone.
The airport is a nasty place for healthy food. There’s usually very little healthy options either in the airport or on the flight. Your best bet is to plan ahead. Our flight was at 8:50am on a Thursday morning, our taxi picked us up at 6am and didn’t make it to the airport until closer to 7am. We knew that we’d end up having to have breakfast at the airport so I scoped out the options and opening times beforehand. We managed some coffee and oatmeal instead of chancing it on the first available place we came across that only offered doughnuts and muffins. I also knew that we wouldn’t be served an actual meal on the flight (instead, we’d have to pay for an overpriced sandwich that looked questionable) so instead we packed some healthy snacks to last the five hours (including a few Lara Bars, some apples and pre-sliced veggies).
As for after the flight, you can easily Google your hotel’s location and search for restaurants and grocery stores in the area. If you can get a mini fridge put in your room (if it doesn’t have one already), you can take a trip to the grocery store to at least get your breakfast and grab some snacks so you don’t wind up at a buffet because you’re famished come lunch. You can make a plan to only eat out once per day or eat out at a more indulgent place once a day.
What I like to do is still make an effort to maintain my healthy lifestyle by indulging in only the things I don’t get the chance to each any other time. Real pizza in Italy? Go for it! Fish and chips in English with a pain of ale? Order it without questions! French pastries at a Parisian cafe? A MUST! But you don’t have to eat them every day or order five eclairs in one sitting. Practice mindfulness! Recognize that yes, you are indeed eating pizza in Italy and savour the moment. Really taste the pizza, drink in the scenery, write it down later or commit the experience to memory. Eat slowly and be grateful for the experience you’ve been given! No, you might NOT have a chance to do it again but that’s no reason to engage in gluttonouse behaviour if you’ve really lived in the moment.
Quite frankly, I’m in British Columbia. I’m still in Canada and I’m staying with my cousin. There’s not a lot of “new” food I’m experiencing so there’s no reason for me to go overboard at all so I’m working on just living in the moment, having meals with loved ones in an absolutely beautiful part of the country.
While in the Dominican with my best friend in 2008, we kept each other in check. We always made sure the other was well hydrated, had sunblock on and just being there with someone else who was also trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle kept us from going overboard at the buffet. I somehow managed to wait until the last day before i had the chocolate croissant I had been eyeing all week and man did it taste good! We also encouraged each other to hit up the onsite gym and played some volleyball to keep active. We joke now that we think we’re the only people in existence that went to the Dominican and came back 5lbs lighter but it’s because we were being great influences on each other instead of being the bad influence! So buddy up while on vacation and make a commitment to help each other stay on track!
Staying fit while on vacation isn’t really all that difficult. No, there’s no reason to hit up the gym every day or do what you normally do but why not, instead of doing a bus tour of a city, do a walking, running or bike tour? Not only will you get to see the city and stay in shape but you can also say you RAN through Spain or South Africa or wherever you are! I want to get some quality exercise here in B.C. so even before we left I told my cousin I really wanted to see the famous B.C. mountains by hiking through them and I brought my running gear so I can check out her seaside town on foot!
If you’re travelling for work, bring your laptop with you and your favourite workout DVDs to get your sweat on in your room or check out their gym facilities or see about getting a pass at a local gym. Bring a jump rope and resistance bands for a quick workout in your room. If you have a smartphone, there are a gazillion fitness apps out there you can use. My favourite is the Nike Training Club! This great app (designed for women but equally as effective for men) allows you to choose from a variety of workouts that mostly use a set of hand weights and a medicine ball and narrates you through a pretty ass kickin’ workout so this is a great app for bringing to your hotel’s gym!